How to Start Developing a Mobile Application?
While an online presence is an important part of successful business development for many companies today, it’s easy for a brand to get lost among a huge number of competitors.
Therefore, companies search for viable ways to make their brand more noticeable and attractive to current and potential customers. One of the options is to build a custom mobile application.
Custom-developed mobile solutions help businesses provide a more personalized user experience, retain existing customers, and make the brand image more consistent and understandable.
However, if a company has no clear vision of how its mobile app should look and what services it should provide, the development might result in the app inefficiency and waste of money and resources.
In this article, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to start developing a mobile application in an effective and efficient manner.
Every software development process starts with an app idea. Most of the time, when businesses consider creating a custom mobile solution, they already have some vision of how the app should look and what operations it should perform.
Before meeting a mobile development team, it’s a good idea to outline the main product concepts. This will help make the product idea more precise, and it’ll be much easier to present it to the development team.
Here are some points to focus on:
- Mobile app objective. It helps companies decide what they need the mobile solution for and how it’s going to improve their workflow processes. This can include improving customer service, streamlining inner business operations, enhancing supplier search and management, and much more.
- Target audience. The next important question to answer is who the potential users of the digital solution are. They can be in-house staff, retail customers, B2B clients, and many others.
- Mobile app features. Mobile features are super-important as they determine the app’s functionality, its budget, and the resources required to build an app.
Market research is closely related to outlining the project idea. Therefore, it’s worth starting to do it before making an appointment with the development team.
At this stage, businesses investigate if their mobile app will be in demand in the market and what their competitors offer. For this, businesses can:
- Profoundly research the global market and its current offerings to determine the mobile app solutions similar to the developed one
- Explore how the developed product differs from its competitors, what target-audience needs it covers better, and what its general value for the market is
Market research isn’t a one-time activity. It can be performed during the app development process and after the requested solution is created. For example, while the mobile app is being developed, the company can request to quickly build the MVP product and test the target audience’s responses. Or it can perform a SWOT analysis of its competitors’ digital solutions in the post-production time to better understand how to improve the existing app and what features to add.
In an effort to create the most competitive and performant mobile apps, some businesses may go too far with the features they want to add.
While every new feature increases the development cost, it doesn’t mean it’ll improve the app’s efficiency.
To define what features are essential to the app and which ones can be added in the last turn, many companies often start with developing a Minium Viable Product (MVP).
An MVP represents a basic form of the digital product with the most important functions that can be quickly released to the market.
By presenting the product to the end-users at early development stages, businesses can gather valuable feedback from their customers.
As a result, they can quickly implement the app improvements and better adjust the developed solution to the user requirements.
Here are some questions that can help better choose the basic features for an MVP:
- What business goals will it help you reach?
- What will be your mobile app functionality?
- Who will use your app: a regular user, administrator, or tech support?
- Why should people want to use your app?
- Who will be your target audience?
Prototyping is an integral part of the app development process when designers and stakeholders create mock-ups and wireframes to show how a future app should function and look.
This adds more clarity to mobile app design and shows how the app screens are connected to each other. Also, with prototypes, it’s easy to understand if the app navigation is simple and intuitive to use and if the user flow is clear and logically built.
When creating prototypes, designers pay much attention to the app aesthetics and select the latest color palettes, design elements, and much more.
When it comes to mobile app UI/UX design, there are some general rules designers follow to make a mobile app consistent and smooth.
iOS or Android?
The selection of the platform where the built solution will run on is also an important point that should be considered at the very start of mobile app development.
That’s because the platform determines the development stack of tools and programming languages the app will be created with.
The two main platforms for mobile app development are iOS and Android. Both deserve companies’ attention as they attract different categories of users.
Here are some quick facts about the iOS and Android platforms that should be considered:
- Android. A dominating platform in the market with over 3 bln active users. The main benefits of the Android app development market are smartphones at any price, more customization options, an up-to-date file system, 100+ available languages, monthly security updates, etc. Android development stack usually includes such tools and programming languages as Android Studio, Android Debug Bridge, Eclipse, Native Development Kit, Java, Kotlin, Python, C/C++, and many others.
- iOS. iOS is the second most popular mobile platform that has over <